Champion Khan deserves wider acclaim

Amir Khan
Amir Khan

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Amir Khan has had a tough job winning over the British public – but it is time to accept he really has joined the boxing elite.

His fifth-round knockout of rival world champion Zab Judah in Las Vegas on Saturday underlined the fact that Khan is the real deal.

Now they are talking about a move to welterweight to fight the unbeaten Floyd Mayweather in what would be a blockbuster attraction next year.

Do not hold your breath waiting for that fight, though.

Khan is in the same camp as Manny Pacquiao, who is taking legal action after Mayweather’s groundless accusations that the Filipino is on steroids.

So the politics are difficult, and that is one reason why we have not seen Mayweather-Pacquiao yet.

Khan would be better off staying in the 10-stone division, ending his war with Sky, and engineering a showdown with WBC champion Tim Bradley.

Amir would be favourite to win that one now.

The Bolton man is young, fresh and fast, with a frightening repertoire of punches – as Judah discovered to his cost.

Quite why Khan has not become a bigger draw card in the UK is hard to understand.

Sky’s pay-per-view figures for Khan fights were always disappointing, despite the fact that he was often in exciting fights.

Perhaps the fans will come round and realise that here is a special talent.

Is he ready for Mayweather now? No.

But give it a year or two and Khan, at the current rate of progress, might just emerge as the No1 fighter on the planet.

It is a remarkable turnaround considering he was knocked out in 54 seconds by unrated Colombian Breidis Prescott not so long ago.

But Amir Khan is a different fighter now – and he deserves wider acclaim than he is getting.